The Tahoma School Board unanimously approved the schematic design for the new Tahoma High School at its May 27 board meeting.
The plan outlines where on the piece of property, located off 272nd near Four Corners in what has become known as the Donut Hole, the school will be located, as well as the location of athletic fields and the floor plan of the school.
Initially the district had hoped to jointly develop the city’s Summit Park property in a win-win for both the city and the school district, but the budget for the district’s projects will prohibit development at Summit Park for now, district spokesman Kevin Patterson said. The plans do call for a parking lot to be built on a portion of the Summit Park property and lays out fields on the remainder of the property. Patterson said that the planning is being done so that in the future the fields could be built when the funds are available.
Also on the still to be determined list, is the flow of traffic on the site. The plans currently call for a parking lot for both staff and visitors, and a lot for student parking, on opposite ends of the property without a road that connects both ends of the property.
The way the school will be situated on the property, the main entrance will be accessed by an access road to be constructed off Maple Valley-Black Diamond Road just to the south of Four Corners, where the city recently installed a stoplight. The student parking lot will be accessed off of 228th Ave SE, near where the county currently has a roads maintenance facility.
The school will also include a performing arts center to seat 600 — approximately the size of one of the school’s grade levels, a 2,000 seat gym, a football field as well as other athletic facilities.
Patterson said that including floor space, the gym should be able to hold the entire student body.
The plans also call for the school’s office to be split in two with an office at the main entrance and one at the secondary entrance. That, combined with double sets of doors, the interior set of which will be locked after the school day starts, as well as all other entrances to the school building being locked from the outside during the day, will ensure that everyone coming into the school after the school day starts will have to go through one of the two offices. This, Patterson said, will provide much greater security to the school. He added that the school also was designed with sight lines in mind, ensuring there are very few if any places within the school that cannot always be seen.
“That’s a big one – much improved access control and sight lines,” Patterson said. “You can see better in all directions from the school.”
The district’s budget for the project is $121,170,000 and the current cost estimate is $120,972,841.
Initially the schematic design came in over budget and the plans had to be revised to fit within the district’s budget. Those changes included the fields on the Summit Park property, decreasing the number of seats in the gym, reducing the square footage of the school building by 5,000 square feet, as well as things like eliminating trees in the BP easement area, going from four batting cages to two. There was $33 million cut from the plans before arriving at the current design. The aspects of the project that were eliminated were moved to a “not prioritized” list that could be implemented if the project comes in under budget.
The important thing in the design of the building, Patterson said, was maintaining the character of the building and building flexible spaces that can be adapted over time as needs change.
The district is still in the process of purchasing the land from King County, something Patterson said is a formality.
“We continue to be assured by the county and the executive’s office that it will happen,” Patterson said.
Now that the schematic design has been approved the next step is the detailed design projects which is all of the nitty gritty details like paint, and building materials. That process, Patterson said, is expected to last the next six to nine months. The goal remains to break ground on the site next year, preparing the site for the building to go up.
To view the detailed schematic plans to www.tahomasd.us.